The Marshall Islands have reported their first cases of the coronavirus after two people flying from Hawaii to a US military base tested positive
The tiny Pacific nation is among the last places in the world to have no reported cases of the virus.
The Office of the Chief Secretary said in a statement that a 35-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man had tested positive this week after flying direct from Honolulu to the base on Kwajalein Atoll.
The office said the two cases were not linked, the two people remained in quarantine, and there was no possibility of community transmission.
The office asked people to remain calm and said all government business and operations would proceed as normal.
Home to some 78,000 people, the Marshall Islands maintain close military and civilian ties with the US under free association ties.
Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– The number of confirmed coronavirus victims in India surpasses 8 million with daily cases dropping to their lowest level this week. The Ministry of Health reported another 49,881 infections in the past 24 hours. The ministry on Thursday also reported 517 additional deaths, bringing the total deaths to 120,527. Life in India is edging back to pre-virus levels with shops, businesses, subways and cinemas reopening. But health experts warn that the Hindu festival season and winter setting could lead to a more localized outbreak.
– Officials in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang believe they have contained the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak. In all of the 23 newly active cases, people had previously tested positive but were not yet showing symptoms, according to the National Health Commission. Thursday is the second day in parallel with testing showing no spread of the virus. Such developments seem to indicate that new infections have been contained, Wang Xijiang, deputy director of the disease prevention and control center in Kashgar Xinjiang prefecture. More than 4.7 million people in Kashgar have been tested.
– Australia has been trying to prevent new coronavirus cases from reaching its shores by barring most of its population from leaving in the first place. The ban poses a grievous burden on its multicultural population, about half of whom were born overseas or have immigrant parents. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has held Australia’s travel ban as an example to the world of how to avoid the next severe wave of coronavirus spread by infected citizens while traveling for holidays. But with Australia being one of the countries most successful at containing the spread of the virus, some question how long such a ban can be justified.